I'm thanking past-me for keeping a Linux journal

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
13,423
3,048
136
I migrated to Lubuntu from Win7 in 2018 after many brief flirtations with Linux spanning about 20 years. While one can always google for help, there's never a guarantee that one can find the particularly useful resource that they found the last time around, so ever since this migration I've kept a journal of any vaguely new knowledge I've picked up along the way.

One thing I've been particularly nervous about due to past experience was updating/installing software that doesn't come with the normal distro repository (to those who don't know Linux, read this as a collection of software that's been pre-packaged and ready-to-go/install for that particular Linux distribution and version).

Several months ago I wanted to upgrade to the latest stable-branch version of LibreOffice, but I got into a bit of a mess and asked for help on the Ubuntu forums (how to purge a ppa repository and completely/cleanly revert back to the version of LibreOffice that worked for me). So today when I attempted to upgrade to LO 6.3.x (which I found to work on a test VM which admittedly had a newer version of Lubuntu), and needed to revert again, I checked my journal and managed to try two newer versions of LibreOffice and revert those in the space of about ten minutes without any unpleasant surprises!

I think the main reason why I've felt out of my comfort zone with this migration is that with Windows I've got decades of experience to fall back on so I know I can get myself out of whatever mess I got into without having to nuke the OS from orbit, and so to be comfortable with Linux requires a similarly high bar to attempt to feel more comfortable about it, and with this journal it makes my life a heck of a lot easier instead of remembering a command I used once a few months ago. So even though I ended up reverting to LibreOffice 6.0.x yet again, I'm not spending an hour or more doing a job that would have taken me about ten minutes or less on Windows.
 
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lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
53,501
3,762
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I keep some notes in a txt file mostly regarding cli programs and their options. I have a hard time remembering switches and stuff, especially with programs I don't regularly use. Man pages can be a little dense when you just want to get something done.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
55,610
7,425
126
www.uovalor.com
This is something I need to start doing more myself. Often when I do a new install I have to re-google stuff because I never took notes of any issues I ran into and what I did to fix them. I sometimes keep bits of information such as oddball commands (ffmpeg for example) so I can refer to that. I need to actually play around with wikipedia's software and setup my own local wiki for this sort of thing. If it's easy to add info and easy to get info, and it's semi organized, I'll be more likely to use it.
 

us3rnotfound

Diamond Member
Jun 7, 2003
5,329
2
81
I keep some notes in a txt file mostly regarding cli programs and their options. I have a hard time remembering switches and stuff, especially with programs I don't regularly use. Man pages can be a little dense when you just want to get something done.
Too true. I'll man for something with an open mind but I'm always like wtf, they made the command too generic with brackets and carrots. It'll literally fucking say command [OPTIONS] parameter1... and I'll be like:
1. in the list that follows, there's no actual heading of OPTIONS, so is that list the options or not?
2. what do you put in the ... part if needed?

99% of the time I just end up on a stackoverflow.com thread that has someone spoonfeed the answer to me.

EDIT:

Also, we neophytes are "up against" Linux gatekeepers/elitists who'll respond in this fashion when someone adds a nice addition to the apt man pages:
https://github.com/Debian/apt/pull/26

Eventually we'll all get good and wonder what it was we were confused about but until then it's a steep learning curve.
 

Red Squirrel

No Lifer
May 24, 2003
55,610
7,425
126
www.uovalor.com
One thing I find with lot of man pages too is they don't always show examples. You can explain everything but I still need to see an example to know what the syntax/format, etc is. At very list show examples of what is the most common usage of the command.
 

nitsuj3580

Platinum Member
Jun 13, 2001
2,651
6
81
Keeping a "journal" is something I've been doing in general for so many DIY related things these days. Whether it's something on the computer, woodworking, house maintenance, etc, I keep notes in Evernote on what I did and information I used to accomplish the task. It's come in handy so many times and I find Evernote to be easily searchable so I can pull up my old notes quickly.
 

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